Monday, August 24, 2020

Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft Roundup, 2.0

Throughout the year and leading up to the 2021 NFL draft, we will update our Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft Roundup showing picks for the Atlanta Falcons from several prominent sites and draft analysts.

The following are picks in August 2020 mock drafts for the Falcons:

Rotoworld - Thor Nystrom (8/21)

14. Carlos Basham Jr., EDGE, Wake Forest

Atlanta opted for a corner in Round 1 in April instead of addressing its pass-rushing need. This time around, they'd kill for a player like Boogie Basham to fall into their laps. It's a little surprising Basham hasn't gotten more hype. The No. 2 ranked athletic "Freak” on Bruce Feldman's annual list this summer, Basham posted 11 sacks and 18 TFL in 2019 (90.6 PFF pass-rushing grade in 2019). Feldman reported that Basham benches over 400 pounds, squats over 700 pounds, and boasts a dizzying 4.21 second shuttle time and 36-inch vertical jump. Basham is so fast and relentless that Wake has him on the kickoff team.

PFF - Mike Renner (8/19)

14. Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

Paye was as hurt as any edge defender in the 2021 class by not being able to prove himself more this fall. Still, if he runs anywhere close to his reported 6.37-second three-cone at 272 pounds, someone is going to take a chance on him early. However, he still needs to add a good deal to his pass-rushing toolbox -- he generated 37 pressures on 316 pass-rushing snaps for a middling 77.8 pass-rushing grade throughout his lone year as a starter in 2019.

The Draft Network - Kyle Crabbs (8/19)

16. Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson

The book on Todd Gurley is shaky at best, given that the health of his knee is debatable. The Falcons have plenty of weapons in the passing game and a line filled with former first-round picks -- now how about a young, fresh set of legs to give them a more balanced attack? Gurley is in a contract year so a transition next offseason feels primed to happen.

Pro Football Network - Oliver Hodgkinson (8/16)

12. Gregory Rousseau, EDGE, Miami (FL)

With Takkarist McKinley failing to live up to his first-round selection and scheduled to hit free agency, along with several other defensive ends, the Atlanta Falcons could add an edge rusher in the 2021 NFL Draft. Even though four of their six picks in 2020 were used on defense, expect further additions to that side of the ball, with safety and linebacker also a potential team need. Could a long term replacement for Julio Jones also be an option?

Although Gregory Rousseau is far from the finished product, NFL teams will be willing to bet on his athletic upside and phenomenal production levels from last season at Miami. Only Chase Young had more sacks and sacks per game than the redshirt freshman. Rousseau lined up all across the defensive line in 2019, possessing the versatility that the NFL values so highly.

ESPN - Todd McShay (8/12)

13. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, LB, Notre Dame

Safety could be a target here, with Keanu Neal and Damontae Kazee both potentially coming off the books in 2021, and I wouldn't be shocked to see the Falcons take a long look at a difference-making running back like Clemson's Travis Etienne. But Owusu-Koramoah's tape might be just too good to pass up for the Falcons. Deion Jones bounced back from a 2018 foot injury extremely well last season, but Atlanta still would like some depth at the linebacker position. Owusu-Koramoah is instinctive and fast, with strong recognition skills. He's all over the field and has the chance to be an every-down impact player.

The Draft Network - Jordan Reid (8/10)

14. Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

After finishing in the top spot on Bruce Feldman's annual Freaks List, all eyes are on Paye as he looks to build on a promising junior season, which saw him post 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks. With the team's struggles off of the edge, the Falcons are once again in a position to find players that can somehow rush the passer. Officially cutting ties with Vic Beasley and also with Takk McKinley entering the final year of his rookie deal, the Falcons are in dire need of someone who can generate pressure opposite of Dante Fowler, Jr.

Pro Football Network - Matthew Valdovinos (8/9)

12. Pat Freiermuth, TE, Penn State

The Falcons have a deep roster with few holes. I debated giving them a linebacker or edge rusher here, but I didn't love the options. However, Atlanta was too strapped for cash to bring stand out tight-end Austin Hooper back in free agency. So why not get them a great successor? Pat "Baby Gronk” Freiermuth is my top-rated tight-end, and the closest player to Hooper in the 2021 class, giving Matty-Ice another great weapon.

The Draft Network - Joe Marino (8/3)

14. Kwity Paye, EDGE, Michigan

Atlanta could go in a number of directions with this pick, but the biggest concern I have on the roster is where the outside pass rush comes from. Dante Fowler Jr. should provide a big answer in that department, but the Falcons need more and Paye has supreme physical gifts to provide it.

A high school running back, Paye is still developing the technical side of the game, but he is a total freak athlete that racked up 12.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks last season. He might be the best overall athlete in the entire draft class and represents the potential to be an exciting addition to Atlanta's defensive front seven.

Previous update: Atlanta Falcons Mock Draft Roundup 1.0

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